U.S. Virgin Islands Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

The U.S. Virgin Islands are situated in the
Caribbean, just a three-hour flight from Miami. Located southwest of the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgins are made up of three main
islands, and surrounded by around fifty smaller cays
and islets. The islands are lush with vegetation and caressed
by sparkling waters. Though celebrated for their sandy beaches
and idyllic scenery, things haven’t always been so peaceful here. The island group was occupied by many European
countries throughout their history, until the United States purchased them from
Denmark in 1917. Over 100 years later, the islands remain a
U.S. territory, popular with American sun-worshippers and
cruise passengers as they require no passport and the main currency
is the U.S. dollar. The largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix was first named Santa Cruz by Christopher
Columbus in 1493. The quickest way to taste the historical flavors
of the island is at the Cruzan Rum Distillery. Let the enticing aromas of fermenting molasses
lure you to this enduring establishment, where the spirit of St Croix has been lovingly
bottled for over 200 years. The island’s fertile soils were once coveted
for the farming of sugar, tobacco, cotton, and indigo. Estate Whim Museum was one of the most successful
sugar plantations in the region, and today it remains a popular stop for history lovers. Wander through the sprawling colonial residence
and slave quarters, which evoke the island’s often heartbreaking
past as well as its uplifting tales of liberation. To the leeward side of the island is Frederiksted, the island’s main port town. Plagued by pirates, the Dutch built Fort Frederik here in the 1750s. It was from this fort in 1848, that the Danish governor freed the island’s
slaves at the eleventh hour to quell a violent uprising. On the eastern side of St Croix, admire the island’s colorful European influence
in Christiansted. Once the capital of the Danish West Indies, this town is a postcard-worthy example of
Danish architecture and style. Just a 20-minute flight north of St Croix
is St. Thomas, the second largest island in the territory. St. Thomas is home to the U.S. Virgin Island’s
capital, Charlotte Amalie, a bustling port town which is often dominated
by enormous luxury liners. Catch the St. Thomas Skyride up the mountain
to get commanding views of the vibrant port, … or climb the stairs to Blackbeard’s Castle, a pirate watchtower built by the Danes in
the 17th century. Sharing this harbor view are grand manor houses
which date back to the late 1600s. Gaze out from their intricate balconies, you never know, you might just spot a pirate ship. Just a 15-minute drive to the east is Frydendal, a settlement that entices honeymooners and
romantics with its beachside resorts and restaurants. Make your way to this side of the island to
indulge in a little R&R with someone special, and perhaps even a cocktail or two. The east coast is blessed with
abundant sandy beaches and calm, clear waters, and chances are you’ll find
a sheltered cove all to yourself. Once you’ve explored St. Thomas, take the short ferry ride to St. John. Step ashore at Cruz Bay, the largest of the island’s towns, and chow down on some traditional Caribbean fare. Like its sister islands, St John was colonized
by the Danes, whose once lucrative sugar plantations now
lie in ruin across the island. The most famous of these is the Annaberg Plantation, whose mills fell silent when slavery was abolished. Wander through the old slave quarters and
crumbling windmill, which overlook Leinster Bay. Explore more plantation ruins just off the
shoreline at Cinnamon Bay, where Mother Nature reclaims the time-worn
stone structures with each passing year. Step out from the forest’s shadows onto
the sunlit sands of Cinnamon Beach. From here, follow the coast back to Cruz Bay, where you’ll find one secluded beach after
another. Despite past ravages of slavery and piracy, The U.S. Virgin Islands have become known
for their pristine natural beauty and welcoming people. They have healed and grown stronger with each
passing generation, and are now the perfect port of call for relaxation,
recreation, and rejuvenation.

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